Imagine getting an appraisal notice for the year 2019 and seeing your home has increased 20% or more in value. It’s a shock, especially when you have barely touched your property.

It’s also surprising when there are reports that bigger appraisal districts and tax assessors don’t see the houses in person. How are they able to come up with such an increase without collecting data from your home?

That said, should it be mandatory to at least drive by houses to assess their value?

Not Enough Manpower

One of the main reasons why these authorities are unable to perform data collection and personal visits is lack of enough manpower.

Normally, a big appraisal district handles tens of thousands of properties in a state or county. That said, it’s impossible to do a thorough inspection for all these properties.

But should that be a reason for tax assessors to do steep increases of property value?

How tax assessors calculate your property’s value

There are different ways and methods to assess a property’s value. These methods could also differ greatly from state to state.

The proper way to assess a property includes a trained professional to visit your place and gather data personally. They have to check any new constructions, expansions, and even furniture. In the event they see any new updates, it is highly likely you’re getting a higher value but can also mean higher tax.

However, due to lack of manpower, some tax assessors do calculations without seeing the property – even just the facade.

There are several ways they check a property’s value such as checking the current market values of establishments and using it as a basis on where to start. Another way is to check the income of the family and see whether they are capable of updating their home. It’s also possible to calculate property value by checking how much it will cost to build a house like yours today.

It’s not surprising assessments are inaccurate.

Even when you let a real estate agent or a tax assessor drive by, there can be inaccuracies in their calculations. For example, your house may look extravagant on the outside, but you haven’t updated that bathroom or bedroom you had since the 90s or 00s. It’s easy for the tax assessor to increase your home’s value by 20% or even more.

Protest your Property

Once you receive your appraisal notice, it’s then important to learn how to protest your property. This is especially important if you are suspicious of the sudden spike.

There are several ways to protest.

First off, you can fill up the form that comes along with your appraisal notice. Know that it’s important that you specify your reason for protesting.

You can also file a notice of protest online. For example, HCAD’s site allows you to fill up a form online.

Lastly, you can hire a professional to represent you, or you can protest in person. However, this requires preparation to ensure a successful protest.

The most essential thing to remember is that you should be mindful of your appraisal each year. It can be chaotic, but it can definitely benefit you in the long run.

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